Brendan Capell heads for the finish line after the 2.5km swim from Wategos to Main Beach.
Brendan Capell heads for the finish line after the 2.5km swim from Wategos to Main Beach.

Capell gains his revenge in Byron ocean swim

By STEVE SPINKS

WORLD 25km champion Brendan Capell proved the dark horse as he took out the 2.5km Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic yesterday.

Capell and fellow Queenslanders Josh Santacaterina and Ky Hurst formed a breakaway pack after forging their way through the field.

But Capell prevailed, with Santacaterina second and Hurst, the two-time defending champion, third.

It was sweet revenge for Capell after an amazing Australian 5km championship race on the Gold Coast two weeks ago.

Hurst won the right to represent Australia at the world championships in Montreal, Canada, after he claimed the 5km event from Capell and Santacaterina by 0.47 of a second.

Capell and Santacaterina dead-heated for second in one of the closest races in open-water history.

Capell's victory yesterday will help ease the pain of that loss.

"It was a three-way sprint (two weeks ago) and I just missed out," Capell said.

"So it was good to get this one."

The 20-year-old started his swimming career in the pool, but switched to open water racing because a certain Grant Hackett was blocking selection for a 1500m spot.

He hasn't looked back.

He will represent Australia in the world championships later this year in the 25km race.

Later yesterday, Hurst claimed the prizemoney on offer for the 400m Dash For Cash.

Another Queenslander, Melissa Gorman, made a clean sweep of the open women's division and the women's Dash For Cash.

The 19-year-old was a clear winner of the 2.5km race.

"It was fun," Gorman said. "The boys are bit rough to race against, but the conditions were good."

Organisers of the Ocean Classic were overwhelmed by the response.

A record field of 1235 swimmers competed ? 250 more than last year.

They were greeted by a large crowd at Main Beach after their gruelling swim from Wategos.

Former Australian Olympian Jon Konrads and ABCRadio commentator Gerry Collins were among the celebrities who made the trek to Byron Bay for the swim yesterday.



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